Guest post by Kelsey Kobayashi: This summer our family participated in the Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge. For five days we needed to budget for and live on $4 per day per person [the national average for an individual receiving SNAP benefits]. There were 3 of us (2 adults and 1 child) participating, so our starting budget was $60. We were allowed to use what was already in our kitchen so as not to waste food. (We did not stock up but we had a few leftovers, and some staples). Before shopping for the week we spent time planning what to buy. We thought about what foods would be the healthiest choices, and would yield the most meals. We focused on protein, fruits & veggies. A dozen eggs, a bag of dried beans, a bag of frozen chicken, a block of cheddar cheese, peanut butter, a big bag of oranges, a bunch of bananas, some frozen veggies and a loaf of whole grain bread actually got us pretty far!
We spent a total of $41 on groceries that week, but the experience was priceless. It was certainly not easy. We felt the growling tummies, weakness and low energy from consuming fewer calories. We noticed that eating the same thing over and over, no matter how delicious, gets boring. As a mother I felt what it would be like not to be able to give my child a variety of fresh and healthy foods, and worse – the worry of not being able to feed them anything at all at times. We learned to appreciate not only our access to basic nutrition, but also the luxuries that make life interesting and enjoyable, like having friends over for dinner, baking cookies with the kids, a cup of coffee in the morning, or a bowl of ice cream for dessert. But most importantly we were alerted to what a huge problem hunger is right here in our own community, and found out how easy it is to help.
For ways to help, visit www.foodbankccs.org/givehelp.